Dr Megan Bergkessel

Principal Investigator

Molecular Microbiology, School of Life Sciences

Portrait photo of Megan Bergkessel
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+44 (0)1382 386464


My laboratory is interested in understanding how bacteria, especially the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, are able to regulate their activities under conditions that prevent active growth. Often in natural environments, including infections, bacteria encounter resource limitation that prevents them from being able to grow and divide. However, sensitive measurements have shown that they are still able to produce proteins at low rates under these conditions. The regulatory mechanisms that are involved are not well understood. Gaining insight into this regulatory context is important because non-growing bacteria are highly tolerant of antibiotics, and can contribute to chronic infections. Understanding how these non-growing, antibiotic-tolerant bacteria are regulating their low levels of biosynthetic activity could give us new insight into strategies to treat chronic infection and combat the rise of antibiotic resistance.

Selected Publications

  • Bergkessel M, Cameron A, Coulthurst S, De Rycker M, Dorfmueller H, Hardee E, Houghton L, Floyd A, Fomina M, Gadd GM, Hsu C-Y, Kalamara M, Kang X, Mackintosh A, Mansoor S, Manthri S, Rosazza T, Stephenson K, Thomas J, Walker L, Stanley-Wall N. 2021. Images of Microbiology. Dundee: University of Dundee. 33 p. https://doi.org/10.20933/100001214
  • Bergkessel M, Delavaine L. 2021. Diversity in Starvation Survival Strategies and Outcomes among Heterotrophic Proteobacteria. Microbial Physiology. 31(2):146-162. https://doi.org/10.1159/000516215
  • Bergkessel M. 2021. Bacterial transcription during growth arrest. Transcription. 12(4):232-249. https://doi.org/10.1080/21541264.2021.1968761
  • Meirelles LA, Perry EK, Bergkessel M, Newman DK. 2021. Bacterial defenses against a natural antibiotic promote collateral resilience to clinical antibiotics. PLoS Biology. 19(3):Article e3001093. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3001093
  • Bergkessel M. 2020. Regulation of Protein Biosynthetic Activity During Growth Arrest. Current Opinion in Microbiology. 57:62-69. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mib.2020.07.010
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Media availability

I am available for media commentary on my research.

Regulatory mechanisms operating during bacterial growth arrest and persistence

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Areas of expertise

  • Antimicrobial resistance

PhD Projects

Principal supervisor

Second supervisor


Award Year
Personal Fellowships / UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship 2020